Is it the government’s job to spread happiness? A former president of Harvard University, who was profiled on the June 2 PBS “NewsHour,” seems to think so. Derek Bok, author of The Politics of Happiness, believes the government should be in the business of manufacturing happiness.
“I think a government that tries, systematically, to relieve what causes lasting misery and emphasize what gives lasting happiness will eventually win the support of the people,” declared Bok.
In a telling review, Sara Robinson of the wildly liberal blog Firedoglake expressed adoration for the book:
It reads like a progressive wish list — a ratification of the kind of ‘for the common good’ policies we’ve always stood for. But Bok’s approach is academic and disinterested and acutely non-ideological: he reaches these conclusions only because the preponderance of data proves (once again!) that reality has a distinctly liberal bias.
On the Wednesday edition of “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough attacked Republican political strategist Karl Rove for his critique of the Obama administration’s delayed response to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Scarborough was irate at the “hypocrisy” of the statement because during his time in New Orleans in the middle of Katrina, he recalled, “a lot of people keeping their mouths shut because they didn't want to criticize President Bush.” [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]
This outburst was in response to Karl Rove’s statement on Fox News that, “The president and his people are in charge of this under the Oil Spill Liability Act and they don’t have a plan.” Scarborough then hastily asserted, “Just keep your mouth shut. I'm not saying don't criticize the president, but if you were involved in Katrina, keep your mouth shut.”
Of course, during a post-Katrina interview with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, Scarborough felt no compulsion to keep his mouth shut in deference to the president. At the time, Scarborough asked if Williams found it an "ironic choice" to report “from a major American city where young children died of dehydration out on sidewalks, and now you've got the President of the United States delivering a speech to the nation from Jackson Square, an area largely untouched by Katrina's devastation.”
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler on Tueday addressed Tavis Smiley's claim that Christian terrorists commit far more violence than Muslim ones. Smiley also issued a statement that defended his comments, though it misrepresented what those comments actually were.
"I don't think he made his case, or even came close," Getler said. He rightfully noted that the 2000 Columbine massacre, Smiley's only example of supposed Christian terrorism, "had nothing to do with Christianity." In fact, as Brent Bozell noted in his column today, the shooters even "mocked students who cried out for God to save them."
Though Getler should be applauded for noting Smiley's total failure to offer a convincing argument, he seems to suggest that a convincing case could be made, but simply wasn't in this instance. "One would think," Getler states, "that Smiley would have been better prepared to make what was certain to be a controversial case."
Not letting a good crisis go to waste, MSNBC’s left-wing rabble-rouser Ed Schultz insisted on "Morning Joe" today that the BP oil spill reinforces the need for new legislation to restrict corporations from engaging in political speech.
“I really believe that this what is happening in the Gulf is a classic [example] of how we do need campaign finance reform,” implored Schultz. “It’s all interconnected.”
To provoke this remark, "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist tossed Schultz a softball while plugging the liberal activist’s new book.
“One of the things you talk about a lot on your show and write about in the book is the relationship between money and politics,” declared Geist. “So what you have essentially, you could say, is a form of legalized bribery. I contribute to you, Senator Schultz, and you carry out my interests in Washington. What do we do to change that? We all know that’s the problem. We all know people are acting on behalf of corporations and not people.”
"It took about three days" after Katrina's landfall in New Orleans for the media to attack the Bush administration for acting "too little, too late," but after April's oil spill it took "about four weeks before you heard any criticism of any substance on the networks," Media Research Center's Rich Noyes told Fox's Clayton Morris on the Saturday, May 29 "Fox & Friends." Noyes and MRC analyst Kyle Drennen wrote about that double standard three days earlier on NewsBusters.
Playing devil's advocate, Morris noted that in the initial aftermath the damage of the BP oil well blowout was grossly underestimated, perhaps accounting for the lack of critical response by the media.
Noyes granted that point, but argued that only explains about "the first week or so" of the media's silence. In fact, it took normally partisan Democrats like James Carville coming out to complain about the Obama administration's reaction before the media took up the torch on the issue, when "it should be the other way around," the MRC Director of Research argued.
For the full interview, click on the play button in the embed at right.
A promo for a new Chris Matthews special on the "Rise of the New Right" is pretty much what you'd expect: Rand Paul, 9/11 Truther Alex Jones, and lots of militiamen shooting guns. That is the doctrinaire leftist snapshot of the Tea Party movement, so it stands to reason that Matthews will extrapolate it into some dire warning about our political future.
"There is a rising tide on the right," Matthews's ominously declares. "The tea party is determined to take power, what does that mean for America?" A claim by a militiaman that "the government's too big" is immediately followed by gunshots - a not too subtle way to paint Americans who favor less government (a majority, by the way) as extremists ala the infamous Hutaree Militia.
The promo opens with Rand Paul's "message from the Tea Party: we've come to take our government back." Paul's recent gaffe - he said he would not have voted for Title II of the Civil Rights Act - will probably give Matthews an easy segue into discussion of the horrible racists that make up the movement. The presence of Alex Jones suggests that Matthews will try to paint Tea Partiers as conspiracy theorists as well (video below the fold).
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared again on last night's "Hannity" for the weekly look at the MSM's liberal pathology in a segment entitled "Media Mash."
The first topic: the liberal media are slowly waking up to the president's incompetent handling of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Mr. Bozell compared that to how it took a mere 72 hours after Katrina's landfall in New Orleans for the media to slam then-President Bush.
The NewsBusters publisher also addressed how Sam Donaldson compared Mexican President Felipe Calderon's scolding Arizonans for their anti-illegal immigration law to how President George H.W. Bush rebuked the Communist Chinese after the Tiananman Square Massacre.
For the full segment, click the play button on the embed above at right.
On the one hand, you might say it was the least surprising coming-out since Ricky Martin announced he was gay. On the other, it was refreshing to hear Mika Brzezinski say words we knew to be true but at least in my case had never heard her unequivocally pronounce before: "I'm a Democrat."
Mika made her declaration in the context of arguing that just because she's a Democrat doesn't mean she shouldn't ask tough questions about the Sestak job-offer allegations or Pres. Obama's handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mika also took a surprising shot at her fellow MSMers for failing to ask the tough questions . . .
"When the oil slick first spread, we learned the Interior Department's chief of staff was rafting down the Grand Canyon, and now that it's reached our shores, the president is in California raising money for Barbara Boxer, while the head of the EPA makes plans to raise more campaign cash in New York City," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee
"Clearly, this Administration's priorities are grossly misplaced when vacations and campaign fundraisers are more important than focusing on one of the greatest environmental disasters in our nation's history."
Clearly it's a GOP talking point, but still, after the media made so much out of Dubya's "heckuva job" comment, you'd think, for better or worse, that more blame would be placed at Obama's feet (Kanye West, call your office).
Doesn't everyone remember in 2005 when George W. Bush's Press Secretary Scott McClellan (bless his back-stabbing heart) called reporters into the West Wing of the White House and scolded them for asking too many questions about Hurricane Katrina? That followed a similar admonishment earlier in the year about the press's obsession with anything and everything to do with the Iraq War.
You don't remember those things? That's because they didn't happen. Oh sure, someone will be able to find examples of McClellan, as well as successors Tony Snow (RIP) and Dana Perino occasionally expressing irritation with reporters for their silly and/or repeat questions on these and other subjects. But summoning them to the West Wing for a beatdown? Hardly.
That's what Obama administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is said to have done last Friday with White House reporters. Here's the full text of audio that can be heard at Breitbart; a somewhat expanded text report, along with a the continually updated original graphic screen-grabbed and incorporated into the image at the top right, are at Capitol News Connection:
CBS and NBC on Tuesday night reached deep into a Washington Post story – specifically, the 20th paragraph of a 24-paragraph article – to pluck out a quote in order to demonstrate a “frustrated” President Barack Obama has been angry about the gulf oil spill. “A frustrated President Obama says ‘plug the damn hole,’” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News. She soon elaborated:
Frustration over the spill has been simmering for weeks, even in the Oval Office. We learned today that in the first days of this crisis an angry President Obama snapped at a meeting, quote: ‘Plug the damn hole.’ The President will head to the gulf coast on Friday, his second visit in about four weeks.
The NBC Nighty News plastered the quote on screen, as Brian Williams announced:
We also learn more today about the President's frustration. A Washington Post article saying President Obama bluntly told an aide in the Oval Office: ‘Plug the damn hole.’ That hasn't happened yet, but the President is heading back there Friday.
He may be out of office, but Cheney Derangement Syndrome lives on.
This time, and just like other times in the past, "The View" co-host and host of her own HLN show, Joy Behar used the BP oil spill to attack the Bush administration, specifically former Vice President Dick Cheney by suggesting he was really behind the oil spill. Her source - it was an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and aid to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson.
"There is a lot of blame to go around, obviously," Behar said on the May 25 broadcast of "The View." "But I was listening to this guy, Lawrence Wilkerson. Who was the -- he is now a retired army colonel and he worked with Colin Powell during the Bush administration. He was the undersecretary to him. And he says, and I quote him, ‘The whole oil spill can be laid at Cheney's feet.'"
What is it about oil spills that make liberals so slippery?
Come to think of it, this isn't fair. What is it about oil spills that make liberals more slippery than usual? There, that's better.
The fact that oil companies receive federal subsidies doesn't sit well with Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation magazine and occasional guest host on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show. Sitting in for Maddow on May 21, Hayes lambasted libertarian GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul for not condemning subsidies to the fossil-fuels industry --
HAYES: The very idea of government subsidies runs counter to the libertarian governing philosophy. And yet when they're in power, when conservatives are in power, reflexively pro-business conservatives have no problem with them. They chuck their supposedly principled free-market ideals right under the wagon the first time BP comes calling.
From the "Did I Say That Out Loud?" Department: "Crashing Vor" on the Daily Kos asserted on Tuesday morning that a good crisis should never go to waste. The Gulf oil spill must be exploited, and the greens must "use this moment, use the deaths of species and the suffering of people who depend on them, in the most cynical, calculated way, as bad as a Republican after 9/11, to make real, lasting change in how we address the costs of our way of life." That means a command-and-control "climate change" bill. Get it now, before stupid Americans lose interest:
There is only one possible redemption in this horror, and even that is a slim chance. If the enormity of what has happened in the Gulf can hold the country's atrophied attention long enough, and if we can mobilize fast enough, we might, just might, be able to bring about a positive change from this:
Real and comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
We must act now to force our legislators to write law with teeth and real effect, law that requires consumers pay the true price of the carbon they burn, law that requires business to pay the true price of the carbon they spew, law that includes the costs of things "no one could have anticipated" into the price of doing business.
It may have taken over a month, but media outlets are finally beginning to point some accusatory fingers at Barack Obama for his deplorable handling of the Gulf oil spill.
On Monday, WCBS-TV in New York actually asked the question, "Could the oil spill in the Gulf become for President Barack Obama what Hurricane Katrina became for President Bush?"
Reporter Marcia Kramer surprisingly answered, "Some in our area think so."
She then interviewed New Yorkers with negative views of how the man currently residing in the White House has handled this crisis (video available here, partial transcript and commentary follow, h/t PoliJAM):
On Monday’s Tonight Show on NBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory appeared as a guest, and, while Gregory seemed to initially defend Tea Party activists against suggestions by Jay Leno that the movement has had a double standard in its treatment of President Bush and President Obama, Gregory also questioned the ability of its members to take part in "governing" as he asked: "How do you have a movement predicated on not governing and then seek to govern?"
Gregory also seemed to agree when Leno asserted that deregulation policies, which he alleged that Tea Party activists endorse, have led to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
JAY LENO: Well, to me, BP is a perfect example. BP seems to have done this on their own. They don't pay attention. They essentially make their own rules because they pay off everybody. That's what the Tea Party wants. That's unregulated and look what happened.
DAVID GREGORY: Right, but in this case, right, you have a breakdown of regulations that led to getting contracts and their technology breaking down. But, right, I mean at some point, the government is the only entity that can clean up after a huge mess...
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, May 24, Tonight Show on NBC:
Bill O'Reilly on Monday offered an obviously satirical solution to the Gulf oil spill that has generated some ire from the usual suspects on the left: "stuff every member of NBC News in that hole."
As readers are well aware, the Fox News personality has had an ongoing war with General Electric and its television subsidiary over its dramatic left-leaning approach to covering the news.
With that in mind, while chatting with the folks from Fox & Friends by phone Monday about a variety of issues, O'Reilly made the following tongue-in-cheek remark when the subject of the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico surfaced (video follows with partial transcript):
"Although the Gulf spill has lowered the percentage of Americans who support offshore oil drilling, a new Pew Forum poll finds a stunning 54 percent still support it," an incredulous Erbe wrote, adding, "So it will take more than a major, irreversible environmental disaster to persuade gas glugging Americans to trade in their pickups for hybrids. I see."
To Erbe, it can't possibly be that average Americans are more even-keeled than their hot-headed, grandstanding congressmen who would capitalize on a disaster for crass political gain. No, it's that oil-addicted American idiots across the fruited plain just aren't following the example of their betters on the Hill:
Imagine that a few months after a new president takes office, his administration approves an offshore oil well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico. It is to be run by BP, whose employees were very generous donors to the president's campaign. The oil company airily dismisses the possibility of a catastrophic leak that might destroy the coastline. Nearly a year later, the president-to the dismay of his environmentalist supporters-says he wants to greatly expand offshore drilling. Soon after that, the BP well explodes, and oil spews into the gulf. It's clear to everyone that the blowout is a major catastrophe, requiring a federal mobilization. But the president's initial response is to say, in effect: do not worry, BP will pay for the cleanup. Eleven days pass before he goes to survey the scene...Imagine the reaction of Washington-the media, Congress, the "national conversation"-if the president wasn't Obama but George W. Bush. "We would be under siege," says Dan Bartlett, who was communications director in the Bush years. "There'd be calls for special prosecutors, investigations everywhere. The focus wouldn't be on what was happening out in the gulf-it would be on what happened in the West Wing."
Republicans are likely to go with Tampa, Florida, as the venue for their 2012 presidential nominating convention in part because evangelicals hate Mormons. That's the gospel truth, at least according to Chris Matthews, who yesterday went on a loopy rant that was pure bluster and completely unsubstantiated in its assertions.
[MP3 audio available here; click play on the embedded video at right for video]
Matthews informed viewers that an RNC selection committee had submitted its recommendation of Tampa -- the RNC still has to give its formal approval -- over other finalists Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The "Hardball" host than gave his theory behind why the latter two cities were rejected, failing, of course, to cite any sources nor to add the caveat that this was purely his own speculation.
On Friday, in the course of a general complaint about the relative lack of coverage of the flooding in Nashville and much of Tennessee, the Associated Press received a deserved compliment for its coverage from Investors Business Daily, which correctly implied that AP can't make its subscribers publish its output.
But IBD missed one item, and understandably so. On Wednesday, the AP ran an article whose purpose seemed to be either to arouse class envy at a time when people should be pulling together, or to criticize the state and federal relief effort's priorities. That article is no longer present at AP's main web site. Why?
The item can still be found in about 150 places as of 11 p.m. Eastern time. (That may seem like a lot, but in context it isn't.) Once you see the tenor and tone of the coverage, you'll understand why the wire service might have wanted to pretend it never published the coverage of reporters Sheila Burke and Travis Loller.
Unfortunately, since I didn't do a screen grab, I'm not sure of the exact title AP used at its main site. But here are examples of headlines employed at subscribing sites, one of which is probably the one the AP's main site also used:
"Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts," Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited as having once said. MSNBC's Chris Matthews would do well to heed the counsel of the late liberal New York senator.
The "Hardball" host yesterday smeared former Bush FEMA Director Michael Brown as having this kooky notion that President Obama approved of offshore drilling in March only because he knew the BP oil rig disaster would happen.
But as the video embedded at right shows, this is Matthews's own warped misunderstanding of Brown's argument about how the Obama administration is poised to take advantage of a disaster for political ends. [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]
Matthews is certainly entitled to disagree with Brown's assessment about the Obama administration's motives behind its slow response to the BP oil spill, but not to lie to viewers about Brown's argument.
Below the page break you'll find a transcript excerpt:
Hosting a debate segment this morning between Republican strategist Alex Conant and Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee that examined the political dimensions of the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, MSNBC's Tamron Hall played soundbites from two politicians with rather divergent views on offshore drilling.
The first was liberal Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) opposing expanding offshore drilling to California, the second was conservative Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who gave a rather dopey comment where he downplayed the devastation of the oil spill by comparing its appearance to "chocolate milk."
After playing those clips back-to-back, Hall asked for Conant's reaction, mistakenly referring to Taylor as a Republican.
We at NewsBusters quickly tweeted Hall about her error and she promptly issued an on-air correction, albeit mistakenly tagging Taylor as a "Michigan Democrat" [MP3 audio available here]:
A lot of the media have been very willing to declare President Barack Obama's monologue at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on May 1 a smashing success. And even though that is a fair assessment, perhaps that's a clue the President chose the wrong occupation.
On Fox News Channel's May 2 "Geraldo at Large," in a segment dedicated to Obama's grand performance, Rev. Al Sharpton praised Obama for the job he did.
"You know, I thought he was very good," Sharpton said. "I was there. At one point I was sitting at a table that Michael Steele was right across the table. And I think the surprise of everyone in the room was that the President was that edgy and he was coming off with it. His timing was good. It was a very good evening."
With the release of the Department of Defense's report on the November Fort Hood massacre, two trends are becoming increasingly clear: the administration does not want to talk about Islam's violent elements, and the mainstream media is more than willing to play along.
The administration's position clear to anyone examining official documentation. The Fort Hood report, the FBI's counterterrorism lexicon, and the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy do not even use the words enemy, jihad, Muslim, or Islam. The original 9/11 Commission Report, in contrast, used those words a combined 632 times.
The media's attitude towards radical Islam's role in this particular attack is evident in its reluctance to attribute Maj. Nidal Hasan's motives to jihad. The members of the media who share this attitude obfuscate the threats facing the nation.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday defended a GEICO voice-over actor who referred to Tea Party members as mentally retarded killers.
Last week, Lance Baxter aka D.C. Douglas left the following voice-mail at the offices of FreedomWorks (audio available here):
Hi there. I`m doing a paper about FreedomWorks and I was wondering if somebody could give me a call back. I`m wrapping up and I just have one more piece of information I need to get from you guys -- just need to know what the percentage is of people that are mentally retarded who work for the organization, and are members of it. And oh -- and one final thing, wondering what your plans are, how to spin it when one of your members does actually kill somebody, wondering how, if you`ve got an actual P.R. spinning routine planned for that or are you just going to take it when it happens. Just curious. So, give me a call when you get a chance. Thanks so much.
Baxter has since been fired for this disgusting message, and O'Donnell filling in for Keith Olbermann on Wednesday's "Countdown" actually came to the actor's defense claiming he was only exercising his First Amendment rights (video follows with transcript and commentary):